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COVID-19 VACCINES

European Union to recognise Switzerland’s Covid certificate this week

Travel abroad is set to get easier this week, with the EU to recognise Switzerland's Covid certificate as part of its framework.

European Union to recognise Switzerland's Covid certificate this week
Switzerland's Covid certificate app. Photo: FOPH

The long-awaited recognition of the Swiss health certificate by the European Union should enter into force on Friday, July 9th, or next Monday, July 12th, at the latest.

The coordinated EU scheme has been established to make travel easier across the bloc, even for arrivals from countries which are not EU members such as Switzerland. 

Up until then, the Swiss immunity pass needs to be scanned directly into apps from individual countries when you visit. More information about this process is laid out below. 

A special committee made up of representatives of all the Member States has given the green light for Switzerland’s certificate to be approved.  

Once the agreement is officially given, the Swiss health passport will be valid in the 27 countries of the European Union, plus Iceland and Norway.

This passport, in the form of a QR code on a smartphone or printed out on a piece of paper, must be presented by each traveler at the border.

It includes identification data and information relating to vaccination (type of vaccine, number of doses received), screening (date of test, negative or positive result), and even serological analysis, namely if the traveler had Covid and has antibodies.

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass

Switzerland’s Covid-19 immunity certificate has been available since June 7th – and now has a linked app which makes the digitalisation process easier. 

Both apps are available for free. Here is the link for the Apple App store here, and that for Android.  

Switzerland’s Covid-19 certificate app up close. Image: FOPH

How to pair Switzerland’s Covid app with those of other countries

Until Switzerland’s app becomes a part of the EU framework, it is possible to pair it with the apps of countries that you visit. 

At present, the apps of neighbouring countries France, Austria and Germany recognise the QR codes issued in Switzerland when someone has been vaccinated. 

This means that anyone visiting France, Austria and Germany needs to download the French ‎TousAntiCovid app, the Austrian Green Pass or the German Corona Warn app and scan in their Swiss QR code. 

Those visiting Italy will not yet be able to scan their QR code in, but can show paper evidence 

This will then be accepted in the app and will allow the holder the same permissions and rights that someone vaccinated in these countries. 

While this process may be a little cumbersome, it will only be necessary until the EU green pass accepts Switzerland into the framework. 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs. 

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